Draft Realist Catholic Climate Declaration: Please Share!

Here we are, friends. As promised, Draft 2 of the Realist Catholic Climate Declaration. Draft 1 is at the bottom, with a summary of critiques.

The goal is to have something short, sweet, certain, and Catholic. Short came first for a good reason. This statement is to be in contradistinction to the hyperbolic and inaccurate “U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration“.

We’re much closer now. Please indicate any suggestions or edits in the comments, or use the Contact page to email me.

We need this done lickety-split to counter the curiosities of the Amazon synod. End of this week, I mean.

I rarely ask this, but please share this around today, as widely as you can. There are standard sharing buttons beneath the post. Thanks.

What’s next? The next draft will be the last, then I’ll set something up for grand public participation. Chime in on this, too, below. These kind of declarations are meant to be discussion points. Virtue signaling we are not interested in.

Draft 2

The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has no, and should not have, an official position on the earth’s optimal atmospheric mean temperature, nor on the best rate of change of this temperature. Neither optimum is known to anybody.

The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will never cease changing. There is no earthly force capable of stopping climate change.

Mankind influences the atmosphere, as does every creature and thing. The extent to which man is responsible for climate change is not known, only surmised.

Extreme caution, even skepticism, is warranted in any statement about global warming given the decades of failed and overreaching forecasts and hyperbole from official and interested sources. Beyond individual prudent stewardship, no Catholic is obligated to support any environmental measure.

There is no evidence any particular global temperature will cause fewer or more souls to descend into Hell. Pray to God and pray for your neighbor, not to the planet.

Draft 1

Too wordy, too specific, not sufficiently Catholic.

The earth’s climate has changed in the past, is changing now, and will ever continue to change. Some of the changes are due to man, some changes are due to other life, and some are due to inanimate forces.

Since man lives on earth, and thus man interacts with the earth, it is impossible for him to not influence the climate.

Therefore, it is impossible to stop the climate from changing, and impossible to eliminate man’s influence.

This being so, it is best to understand how man influences the climate. Scientists have made progress in these investigations, but there is still much to be learned. The predictions of future climate conditions based on this scientific knowledge are as yet poor, which means the extent of man’s influence is not yet perfectly known.

It is important to separate effects on things due to changes in climate and changes in the climate itself. The effect of food production is uncertain even knowing what the climate will be; therefore there must be greater uncertainty about food production given there is uncertainty in the future climate. Keeping these uncertainties separate has been rare, meaning environmental predictions are typically too-certain.

We must therefore be cautious in approaching any environmental prediction of the future because the track record of these predictions has been poor.

There is no scriptural or Magisterial reason to prefer any particular climate over another; and, even stronger, there is no such authority to say man has a duty to stop the climate from changing, which is in any case impossible.

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24 Thoughts

  1. This is very good. A couple nitpicky suggestions:

    The Magisterium of the Catholic Church does not and should not have (parallel structure) an official position on the earth’s climate, not on its optimal atmospheric mean temperature, nor on the best rate of change of this temperature. Neither optimum is known to anybody.

    The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will never cease changing as long as earth exists (strive for accuracy). There is no earthly force capable of stopping climate change.

    I was once an evil marketing guy, so I tend to look at punchiness. In the first paragraph, launching right into optimals will lose people, so use the word climate first. The Church, in all its Magisterial glory, should not have an official teaching on climate.

    You’re doing the Lord’s work here.

  2. Your second draft is a good distillation of the essential points in the first. That’s the point of first drafts, of course. I can think of nothing to add, but tweaking.

    Briggs wrote:
    “The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has no, and should not have, an official position on the earth’s optimal atmospheric mean temperature, nor on the best rate of change of this temperature. Neither optimum is known to anybody.”

    …tweak:
    The Magisterium of the Catholic Church makes no mention of earth’s optimal mean temperature, or the best rate of change of this temperature, nor should it. Neither optimum is known to anybody.

    Okay, I thought of something to add:
    “Beyond individual prudent stewardship, no Catholic is obligated to support any environmental measure” especially one flogged by a fake and gay Pope.

    Heh. Sorry.

    Consider striking this:
    “There is no evidence any particular global temperature will cause fewer or more souls to descend into Hell. Pray to God and pray for your neighbor, not to the planet.”

    Lastly, combine the second and third paragraphs:
    “The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will never cease changing. There is no earthly force capable of stopping climate change.

    Mankind influences the atmosphere, as does every creature and thing. The extent to which man is responsible for climate change is not known, only surmised.”

    …to make this paragraphical trinity:

    The Magisterium of the Catholic Church makes no mention of earth’s optimal mean temperature, or the best rate of change of this temperature, nor should it. Neither optimum is known to anybody.

    The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will never cease changing. The extent to which man is responsible for this change is not known, only surmised. There is no earthly force capable of stopping climate change.

    Extreme caution, even skepticism, is warranted in any statement about global warming given the decades of failed and overreaching forecasts and hyperbole from official and interested sources. Beyond individual prudent stewardship, no Catholic is obligated to support any environmental measure.

  3. Whoops, missed the paragraph break:

    The Magisterium of the Catholic Church makes no mention of earth’s optimal mean temperature, or the best rate of change of this temperature, nor should it. Neither optimum is known to anybody.

    The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will never cease changing. The extent to which man is responsible for this change is not known, only surmised. There is no earthly force capable of stopping climate change.

    Extreme caution, even skepticism, is warranted in any statement about global warming given the decades of failed and overreaching forecasts and hyperbole from official and interested sources. Beyond individual prudent stewardship, no Catholic is obligated to support any environmental measure.

  4. Third time’s the charm?

    The Magisterium of the Catholic Church makes no mention of earth’s optimal mean temperature, or the best rate of change of this temperature, nor should it. Neither optimum is known to anybody.

    The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will never cease changing. The extent to which man is responsible for this change is not known, only surmised. There is no earthly force capable of stopping climate change.

    Extreme caution, even skepticism, is warranted in any statement about global warming given the decades of failed and overreaching forecasts and hyperbole from official and interested sources. Beyond individual prudent stewardship, no Catholic is obligated to support any environmental measure.

  5. Well, why the Hell is no one concerned about global warming BELOW the earth’s surface? A whole lot of humans live there too (some in perpetuity), and their actions definitely caused this problem, you know.

  6. Late night update!

    Thanks for those who commented, especially Dean. I received a large number of emailed suggestions. I’ll work on getting in all these ideas in the next day or two. Stay tune.

  7. Maybe somehow helpful info……great chart…..plus bishops are too political…..

    https://www.visualcapitalist.com/all-the-worlds-carbon-emissions-in-one-chart/

    The Paris agreement was wholly unfair to the U.S. and the Bishops USCCB appear to not have actually studied the agreement.
    U.S. Bishops Chairman Regrets the President’s Withdrawal From The Paris Agreement

    June 1, 2017
    WASHINGTON—President Donald J. Trump announced today that the United States will not honor the Paris agreement on climate change. The United States and China, the two largest carbon emitters, and 195 other nations, signed the agreement that was ratified in November 2016. The Paris agreement establishes that nations must reduce their carbon dioxide emissions in order to keep global temperatures well below a two-degree Celsius increase in relation to pre-industrial levels.

    God bless C-Marie

  8. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church should have no official position on the earth’s climate. There is no scriptural or Magisterial reason to prefer any particular climate over another.

    The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will never cease changing. There is no earthly force capable of stopping or altering climate change.

    Scientists have made some progress in understanding past and future climate conditions, but there is still much to be learned. The extent to which Mankind influences climate change is not known to Science, only poorly surmised at present.

    Catholics should practice good stewardship of God’s creation. However, there is no authority — theological, ecumenical, or scientific — that imparts a duty to stop the climate from changing, as it has always and will always do.

    Catholics should worship the Creator, and care for His creations, but not strive to alter or supercede His plan.

  9. My take on it as a writer and editor. Whatever you do, you must fix the bad grammar in the first line and change “obligated” to “obliged”:

    The Magisterium of the Catholic Church does not and should not have an official position on the earth’s optimal atmospheric mean temperature, nor on the best rate of change of this temperature. Neither is known to anybody.

    The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will never cease changing. There is no earthly force capable of stopping climate change.

    Mankind influences the atmosphere, as does every creature and thing. The extent to which man is responsible for climate change is not known, only surmised.

    The fate of souls is the primary concern of Christ’s Church. While stewardship of land and government of peoples are necessary concerns for all mankind, there is no evidence any particular global temperature will cause fewer or more souls to descend into Hell.

    Extreme caution is warranted when evaluating any claim that the planet is warming, cooling, or changing in a predictable, undesirable, and preventable way. Decades of forecasts and hyperbole from official and interested sources have overreached or failed. Therefore, beyond individual prudent stewardship, no Catholic is obliged to support any particular environmental measure.

  10. When men talk about the earth and such catastrophic events as Harry Cains (How a native Floridian pronounces it ) earthquakes, tornadoes, Oprah, and other natural disasters, it is wise to remember that it is owing to sin that creation itself groans.

    Were the Pope to teach the truth that Jesus established His Catholic Church for two reasons, Salvation and Sanctification, and The Bishop of Rome started to emphasise that while men can not control the weather, he can attain unto both Salvation and Sanctification using the Sacramental System as intended and that is the revolution the world requires.

  11. Impressive!!!
    Thank you, Amateur Brain Surgeon.
    And thank you for the reminder of this Scripture: ”
    18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
    19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
    20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
    21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
    22 Forwe know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
    24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?
    25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” Romans 8: 18-25.

    God bless, C-Marie

  12. +JMJ

    I agree with Joseph Moore’s comments especially.

    Immediately after the statement:
    The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will never cease changing as long as earth exists.

    I would add words to the following effect:
    The chaotic nature of the dynamical system that is the earth’s climate means that we will always be in a state of invincible ignorance about its long-term development.

    The most key words being, of course, “invincible ignorance.” Dogma, on the contrary, needs certainty. The climate can’t become an object of dogma because it can’t be an object of certainty; we are ever in a state of invincible ignorance about it, outside of possibly the very short run.

    Thanks very much for this!

  13. Found this definition of invincible ignorance….. used mainly in Catholic Theology:

    INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE

    Definition

    Lack of knowledge, either of fact or law, for which a person is not morally responsible. This may be due to the difficulty of the object of the knowledge, or scarcity of evidence, or insufficient time or talent in the person, or any other factor for which he is not culpable. (Etym. Latin in, not + vincibilis, easily overcome: invincibilis.)

    P.S. One can always ask our Father, in Jesus’ Name, to intervene concerning the weather according to His perfect will.

    God bless, C-Marie

  14. Hi,

    Interesting. I’m not Catholic, but I would like to give you an outsider perspective if you don’t mind.

    For me the last paragraph is not aligned with the text as a whole – it seems stretch. I don’t see any reason to suggest not to pray for the planet. If one thinks it’s necessary why not? Who we are to judge and make new orders about what one is allowed to pray?

    There are only ten rules to follow 🙂

    ”There is no evidence any particular global temperature will cause fewer or more souls to descend into Hell. Pray to God and pray for your neighbor, not to the planet.”

    If it would be removed the text would be better.

  15. The difference is:
    is one praying for the planet….asking God’s helps….as Briggs writes…..
    or to the planet….as though it, the planet, can receive prayers and answer them.
    God bless, C-Marie

  16. I Like Dean Ericson’s suggestions

    However, there are still some problems. Consider this version -derived from Ericson- as illustrative:

    The Magisterium of the Catholic Church makes no mention of earth’s optimal mean temperature, or the best rate of change of this temperature, nor should it. The church has no unambigious information on either subject.

    The earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now, and will most likely continue changing. No one knows to what extent, if any, Man can influence either the rate or direction of change – nor is it known to the church or anyone else whether humans should attempt to influence climate change.

    Given the decades of failed and overreaching forecasts and hyperbole from official and interested sources Catholics should treat any statement about climate change with due skepticism and make personal decisions about any politically proposed environmental measure based entirely on personal knowledge, belief, and observation.


    1 – Hardly anyone knows what ” optimum” means in this context or so I surmise. Both words are correct and reasonable, but one won’t be understood and the other makes you a toff.
    2 – No force on earth? How about a few hundred fusion weapons? or a re-directed astroid? or a teenager experimenting with a plant eating bacterium?
    3 – the usual catholic obligation is to take responsibility for ones own actions.

  17. “Need something like this geared for our Jewish friends:”

    Why?

    This is not a proposed declaration having to do with Messias-Deniers.

  18. Intent is fine, but the opening sentence, while parseable, is clumsy. I support Mr. Moore’s suggestion: something like “The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has no official position, and should have none, on the earth’s…”

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